Parliament and Citizens in Italy: An Unfilled Gap
This article analyses the current relationship between parliament and citizens in Italy, after almost two decades of change and adaptation following the collapse of the post-war party system. All the remarkable changes experienced since the early 1990s, such as the alternation in government of two opposite coalitions, the consolidation of more pronounced adversarial politics and the emergence of political personalisation, have not improved the image of the Italian parliament, which enjoys a low level of trust. The article explains the parliament's effort to become more open and transparent, the role of parties and individual MPs to represent and communicate with their voters and the mechanisms through which citizens try to raise issues directly with parliament. Finally, the main elements of change and continuity between the first and the second republic are assessed. While much is to be done to achieve a better relationship between parliament and citizens, we argue that no institutional reform can have immediate effect if not accompanied by the emergence of a new style of politics.
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